Why is my crust hard to cut through?

Started by Lou-relio, September 03, 2023, 11:04:25 PM

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I'm trying to make a Chicago-style deep dish using a recipe found elsewhere in this forum.  Used all purpose flour and came out at 52.1% hydration, 15.1% oil (mix of corn and olive) 1.2% salt, 1.6% sugar, 1% active dry yeast.    I mixed everything together and kneaded by hand approximately 5 minutes.
Weighed dough ball at 409 grams and let it rise approximately 3 hours at ~76 degrees F.  Deflated dough and pressed into a well-oiled (~60 grams)  9" springform pan lined with aluminum foil.  Filled with low-moisture part skim mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, tomatoes and baked at 400 - 450 F approximately 30 minutes.

The problem and question:  The pizza looked great but the crust was exceedingly hard and rather difficult to cut with a knife. Wasn't burnt at all.   Might I be kneading too much? The dough was nice to stretch and fold with my hands, didn't need to add flour, wasn't sticky. Kind of passing the window pane test but I don't know if that's appropriate for this style.   Any questions or suggestions about what I may improve/change to get a crust that isn't so hard?  Thank you.


The main things that stand out to me is 52% hydration. Way too low for a long bake pan pizza. Also, 15% oil? I use 2% oil. Maybe 15% is being used as part of the hydration? Also, for same day dough, after you shape the balls and proof them, don't deflate them again. Otherwise they'll need to re-proof for another few hours.

Other than those three things, the rest is fine, except I'd up your salt to 3%.
If all I had was pizza, wings and beer the rest of my life, I'd die a fat happy man. ~Chris :)


He's making a Chicago deep dish, that is not your typical 'pan pizza'

The formula looks ok to me, your problem is most likely too much kneading / gluten development, 5 minutes is probably way too much; For a deep dish you want a very minimal kneading. Too much kneading = tougher dough. Check this video:


My pizza blog: www.pizzablab.com


OK, that vid dough recipe looks a lot like Lou posted. 51% hydration seems strange to me. But then again I've never done one of those dry crust deep dish pizzas. Something I need to try so I can say I've done it.  ;)

Lou, maybe you did it right and you just don't like that style of crust?
If all I had was pizza, wings and beer the rest of my life, I'd die a fat happy man. ~Chris :)

scott r

Good advice, I like a 50 ish hydration dough for thin and crispy style pizzas.  when I make those my best ones come from a food processor with minimal spin time.  The less water you use the less you have to knead, and I am a fan of kneading.